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Luxe Pack Explores Packaging Trends Key to Strategic Brand Planning

Posted: January 4, 2013

Among the highlights of Luxe Pack Monaco, the Luxe Pack Monaco Trends Observer was created to be an essential strategic planning tool for brands. The experts on this committee, in conjunction with Formes de Luxe magazine, unveiled four revamped trends at the October 2012 event.

Pink Lights Up

Pink is symbolic of happiness, says the committee. Brightening up everyday life, Issey Miyake chose it for the Pleats Please fragrance and Viktor&Rolf used it for the limited edition Flowerbomb, among others. “But be aware”, warns Béatrice Mariotti, vice president of Carre Noir and Trends Observer committee member, “that this color isn’t being used on a girly or regressive level. It stands out for its sophistication and depth.”

Depth is further enhanced by lighting effects. The bottle for Balenciaga’s Flora Botanica, for example, uses pink only on one lateral face, allowing the color to reflect and diffuse. “We are not limited to a flat color, but it adds subtlety and strength by being a gradient,” says designer Fabrice Peltier, founder of Fabrice Peltier Création and another committee member. For La Petite Robe Noire, Guerlain made it denser as it approaches the base of the bottle—an effect Nina Ricci reverses for Mademoiselle Ricci. “One could talk about a ‘new nude,’ which, while it is focused on pink, is also expressed in other colors. There is a maturity of color,” offers committee member and sociologist Patrice Duchemin.

The Hyper Material

While technological advances have raised colors to their maturity, they also allow materials to be used in new and unexpected ways. Cardboard, thanks to complex printing, lacquering and embossing, transforms into wood, metal or leather. Metal is transformed into leather or fabric, while glass and plastic employ surprising tactile effects. “We are seeing veritable cloning,” says Peltier.

The lacquered glass bottle for Blanc by Courrèges could pass for porcelain, and the cap of Pleats Please mimics crumpled paper. But far from merely settling for optical effects, consumers are looking for haptics (the pleasure of touch) and the real rather than the virtual—hence the need for illusion both in appearance as well as in density. “Equilibrium plays out on levels: visual, texture and feel,” says Mariotti. It is an equation that allows packaging to go another step beyond playing a simple protective role.

My Little Show Off

Driven by consumers, overt bling is being succeeded by controlled bling. While for some, in times of crisis, the overly eye-catching is becoming too difficult to bear, others do not want to give it up but opt to showcase it more discreetly.

“Normality is making bling look outdated,” says Trends Observer committee member Isabelle Musnik, director of content and editing at Influencia. “A new style of luxury is taking hold, less oriented toward the desire for admiration from others and more toward the search for experiential and aesthetic pleasures.”

It is a movement that results in a more sparing style. “Brands are retaining their traditional motifs, but in a purified form. They are responding to a growing need in developed countries affected by the crisis to be visible, but not overly so,” says committee member Rémy Oudghiri, director of the trends and prospective department at Ipsos.

The mesh found delicately hot stamped in gold on the secondary packaging of Mon Jasmin Noir by Bulgari are typical manifestations of this trend. The bottle of Lolita Lempicka's Les Dressings de Lolita is decorated with illustrations symbolizing the world of perfume.